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Kang visits Assembly, apologizes for any trouble

June 21,2017
The newly appointed foreign minister, Kang Kyung-wha, visited the National Assembly to meet with leadership members of the ruling and opposition parties on Tuesday, two days after President Moon Jae-in defiantly appointed Kang over the bitter objection of the opposition parties.

The largest opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) refused to meet Kang.

Pointing to ethical lapses, the opposition refused to adopt a report on the outcome of confirmation hearings for Kang in their objection to her appointment. Moon nevertheless pushed ahead with the appointment on Sunday, citing her diplomatic qualifications from her career at the United Nations.

Kang apologized for the trouble her nomination caused when she met with Rep. Kim Dong-cheol, floor leader of the People’s Party, which also opposed her appointment.

“I am sorry for the troubles that I caused during the confirmation hearing process due to my shortcomings,” said Kang, who is now South Korea’s first female and non-career diplomat to lead the foreign affairs ministry. “I will strive to fill the shortcomings that were pointed out to lead the ministry.”

In return, Kim asked the new minister to do her best to prove to him and his party that their concerns about her qualifications were “groundless.”

Kang also met with Bareun Party floor leader Joo Ho-young. At the meeting, Joo stressed that Moon should give a sufficient explanation as to why he appointed Kang, even though she had committed one of the five disqualifying acts Moon listed during his campaign.

Moon said he would not nominate someone for any ministerial position if he or she had a record of draft-dodging, real estate speculation, tax evasion, fake address registration or plagiarism. But Kang was shown to have used a fake address in 2000 to send her daughter to the school of her choice.

Again apologizing for any trouble she caused, the new minister said she hoped for an occasion to report on the outcome of the upcoming Korea-U.S. summit meeting in Washington next week to opposition lawmakers.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]